The surname of REDDECLIFF was a locational name 'of Radcliffe' a parish in County Lancashire, two miles from Bury and it is in this district that the name is especially common. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records of the name mention William de Radeclive, documented during the reign of Edward 1. ( 1272-1307 ). Wilelmus de Radcliff of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Richard Radcliffe of County Lancashire, registered at Oxford University in the year 1608. William English and Ann Radcliff were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1708. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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